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September 10, 2008

“HIV POZ” Vanity Plate Allowed for Positive California Man

California’s Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) on September 9 allowed HIV-positive Santa Clara resident Julien Pierre to place “HIV POZ” on his vanity license plate, a request that was initially denied in June, The Mercury News reports.

According to the article, a DMV spokeswoman stated that the plate may have been denied because, if not put in context, “HIV POZ” could be offensive to “somebody.” The DMV typically denies vanity plates portraying gang slogans, racial slurs or profanity.

“This was an inappropriate decision by an inexperienced clerk, and we’re going to be rescinding the letter that Mr. Pierre received, and issue him an apology and the plate,” said Mike Marando, the DMV’s lead spokesman. “‘HIV POZ’ would be no different if you say something about a heart or a lung; it was not an offensive configuration.”

In 1998 a federal judge ruled in favor of another HIV-positive motorist, Kevin Dimmick, who requested a plate that read “HIV POS” for his motorcycle, citing that the DMV had violated his right to free speech when they denied his application.

Search: vanity plate, Department of Motor Vehicles, Santa Clara

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